Thursday, December 8, 2022


Verizon “dirty tricks” hit RV group below the belt



By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Imagine getting mobile Internet service for less than $50 a month — along with a free device to connect you to the network. And tack on a provider who has (reportedly) the best coverage in the U.S. That’s what members (and prospective members) of FMCA (Family Motor Coach Association) got pretty excited about in mid-June when the news hit that FMCA and Verizon had banged out a deal to do just that. Now stop for a second, and go back to the opening word of this story: Imagine.

Imagine it, because, thanks to the unrelenting mantra of Big Business — look out for the stockholders — Verizon has reneged on the agreement, leaving the FMCA with a major case of egg on its face.

Evidently the FMCA folks had worked for months to cut a good deal for their members. After negotiating in good faith, they got the nod from the folks at Verizon. Along the way, FMCA had given Verizon copies of the material they’d shoot to the membership, and editorial content announcing the deal in the group’s membership magazine. All good. A couple of weeks ago they did a “soft” roll-out, selecting a small portion of the membership at random to offer the deal. That way, they’d be able to gauge response, and make sure that all the necessary parts of the system were in place to handle those who wanted the service.

You can only picture how those who heard about the deal responded. Not only did they enthusiastically swamp the FMCA group tasked with signing them up, many hailed the news like zealous evangelizers: tweeting, e-mailing, and posting the good news on RV forums far and wide. It didn’t take long for the news to make it outside of RV circles. We read a couple of articles in “plain package cell phone” websites about the great deal, and these urged their readers to quickly join FMCA and jump on the program. Unfortunately, most didn’t mention you had to own a motorhome to qualify for FMCA membership, but even then, the FMCA “new member sign up” page clearly spelled out that not-just-anybody could be an FMCA member.

Of those who were “legit” FMCA members, it didn’t take long for the number of new Internet accounts allotted by Verizon to fill up. Those who couldn’t sign up in June were pushed into the July allotments. Within a matter of days, all of July’s slots were filled up. While the good folks at Verizon should have heard not only the ringing of cell phones but the ringing of cash registers as well, perhaps they only heard the sound of dirges. Before anybody could even get the Google home page up on their computers, Verizon pulled the rug, killing the program, and leaving FMCA members and leaders in the lurch.

It’s like the old hardware store joke: Verizon went nuts, bolted, and the customers got screwed.

We’re sorry to hear about the affair. We’re sorry that the club got stiffed. Sadly, it’s not all that surprising. We know of plenty of Verizon customers who, long ago, had “unlimited Internet connectivity,” and over the years have witnessed how Verizon has virtually killed off their unlimited access through a series of dirty tricks and loopholes.

We’ve been with Verizon for years, and we pay plenty for our phone and Internet service. When the company offered their so-called “unlimited Internet” plan a few months ago, we read the fine print. We’re on a 30-gigabyte-a-month plan. For a few dollars a month less, we too, could have unlimited access. Right! And after we hit 23 gigs, the company can throttle us down to 3G speeds. Try working for a major RV online newsletter, uploading pictures and doing huge amounts of download work all month long, happy as a clam, until that magic 23 gigabyte number rolls up. No thanks, we’ll do everything we have to in order to keep our 30-gig plan, even paying extra money when we roll over those 30 gigs, because if we allow Verizon to generously “allow” us to roll up to the next level, even for just a month, we’ll never get the price-point back for the 30 gigs we now buy.

If Verizon weren’t the 500-pound gorilla of the roving Internet world, we’d drop them in an instant. But as it is, we, like too many other RVers, are basically stuck with their tricks. It’s just another side of a world that needs more than just a little reforming.


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KC Piton
5 years ago

We are full-time RVers and rely on the internet to watch TV/movies/videos, plan our trips, see what the local community has to offer, and, of course, read my newsletter while drinking my coffee every Saturday. We have had Verizon for years due to their good coverage, but are sickened by their dirty tricks. We, at one time, had Verizon’s unlimited data. They sent us a notice stating they would no longer service our plan. We had to purchase a different plan, and there went the unlimited data. Late last year (2016), some people we met at a campground in Michigan (our state of residence) told us that AT&T had a special rural plan that is only offered to rural-type states. Michigan was one of them. We signed up. Through AT&T’s HomeBase unit, we get 500GB of data a month, and it comes with a phone connector which enables us to have an RV “landline.” Where we currently are in Vermont, our Verizon-serviced cell phones do not work for talking. They work for texting and viewing internet, but not for talking on the phone. Our AT&T’s HomeBase unit works great! It costs $100 plus tax a month, but to us, it is well worth it. Our speed doesn’t go down, and we can watch hours and hours of streamed video. We do shut off the HD option to save data, but so far we haven’t come close to our limit. You can have 10 devices connected. We currently have 6 devices online. I don’t know if AT&T is still running this special, and I don’t know what states are covered, but it might be worth looking into. We are THIS CLOSE to dropping Verizon!!

John Snell
5 years ago

When your dealing with publicly traded companies shareholders call the shots. Same thing happened with insurance co’s who signed up for Obamacare. They undercut their premiums to corner the market and low and behold they got more people than they could handle and the bailed. Sometimes you get what you wish for.

Gary D Bogart
5 years ago

Verizon has a data dirty trick. Their roll over data is the last to be used the following month. Never mind you paid for it.First used is bonus data, then purchased data, and last rollover. You probably won’t get to use the rollover data at all. They advertise what they don’t give you.

Diane Kenny
5 years ago

What’s really crazy is that it is clear that there is a huge, untapped market in our RV community. We bought the Verizon unlimited plan last winter as I want to start a small business while we live on the road, and being throttled at 10G just doesn’t get it. Neither can we watch movies through the services for which we pay, and frankly, once we’re past 10G, internet music isn’t reliable. Like everyone else, I want a better answer. This is nuts!

5 years ago

We were with VZW for years. My wife and I switched to Straight Talk 12G each for $54 each. and we are still on the VZW network.

Mark Gaunt. Vancouver, WA
5 years ago

Without going into detail-if I understood the internet world & there was another game in town, I’d dump Verizon in a second. There’s always something confusing with that company…

Tina GAllagher
5 years ago

As long as Verizon and other carriers have customers over a barrel, they’ll do what they want. We, the customers, are the ones who pay. and pay. and pay….. I used to have a Clear account and the mobile hotspot. I LOVED it- $50/mo for unlimited internet. But then, guess what? They were bought out- by Sprint- who promptly ended all Clear connections. They have their own devices, and you only get 5 to 10 gigs- if it works. I have a dream of internet being like TV waves- free for local programmers and stations (in other words, free at 3 gigs) with cable as a paid service, (for internet, paid service for 4 gigs or better). I think it’s a nice fantasy.

Don Lee
5 years ago

I inquired about unlimited internet when it was first advertised. I was told by a Verizon Wireless employee that the first 3GB would be high speed, but all else would be at a slow rate that would slow even more as more users are online.

Alaska Travelers
5 years ago
Reply to  Don Lee

We have the unlimited plan. We have 10G each month, each phone, of 4G LTE for a total of 30G. We have never been throttled to 3G unless we have hooked up to a busy tower. We haven’t experienced any problems except in Canada. There, we were throttled to 3G after using the alloted 10G daily allowance. It was fine since before we switched to unlimited we shut our phones off in Canada. We and Verizon are “happy campers” for now….

John Koenig
5 years ago

I’ve been screwed over by Verizon several times over the years (and have recently been screwed over by ATT). Public Utilities get special breaks not available to “regular” businesses because they’re supposed to be serving the public. Where are the Federal and State regulators and, why aren’t they taking action to protect the American public?

5 years ago
Reply to  John Koenig

They’re all in Washington, D.C. feeding at the trough next to their lobbyist buddies .

Rene Maloon
5 years ago

Amen to your article. I have just now finally gotten out of all my Verizon contracts, & I am not going back to them-ever. They are just full of dirty tricks and will sell you anything. I didn’t read the fine print and had to pay them until the contract was up as it would have cost me more to cancel, more of their dirty little tricks. I have consumer Cellular now & have had good coverage where ever we go.

J French
5 years ago

Frankly I do not blame Verizon for pulling out of the agreement.
Blame for the fiasco is to be placed directly on FMCA for allowing unlimited new “Memberships” to non-RV’er who do not qualify except for their desire for cheap Data service.
If I was a longstanding member of FMCA & had signed up to only watch FMCA allowing itself to be used like this – I would immediately cancel my membership.

5 years ago
Reply to  J French

The FMCA does not allow non RV’ers membership. You must be an RV’er and own a motor home.
For my cell and internet I use Cricket Wireless, $35 a month and I can tether my phone to my laptop for 4G service.

Jessie Gramstrup
5 years ago

We live in what Verizon calls a Fringe Area– can you hear me now is outside on a clear day, We could have purchased an antenna and booster which MIGHT work, no refund if it doesn’t. Changed carrier and have usable indoor service for less

Karin Callander
5 years ago

Well said! We got screwed on our unlimited coverage years ago, and that’s how we finally learned about the throttling trick. Can’t tell you how many hours were spent on phone with tech support, trying to resolve slow speed issues due to their tricks!!

We were considering signing up for this new program and eliminating our home, cable based service, but decided it would be a hassle for just a few dollars a month less. Glad we decided not to pursue it!

Bob Wexler
5 years ago

I have been with VZ for well over 15 years. I used to have “unlimited” service too. Every time I set up camp I would run a speed test, if I could even get on line, and call VZ to put in a trouble ticket. It would often be an hour process. My bill for two phones and a USB access was over $200 a month. Now with the new small plan I have two phones for $71 a month. I am a happy camper. Or at least I would be if I still had my Motorhome.